Application for permission to stage Freedom Day demonstration expected to be filed next week

Although the anniversary is observed on March 25, the organizers decided to hold the event a day earlier, on Sunday, to attract more people...

 

An application for permission to stage a Dzen Voli (Freedom Day) demonstration in Minsk on March 24 is expected to be filed next week.

Dzen Voli Representatives of the Belarusian Popular Front (BPF), the United Civic Party, Belarusian Christian Democracy, the Movement for Freedom, European Belarus, Belaruski Rukh and Razam and an art group called Pahonya held a meeting in Minsk on Friday to discuss preparation for the demonstration to mark 95 years since the proclamation of the 1918 Belarusian National Republic (BNR).

Although the anniversary is observed on March 25, the organizers decided to hold the event a day earlier, on Sunday, to attract more people.

Participants would gather near the Central Botanical Garden in Minsk and march to People's Friendship Park in Bangalore Square on the outskirts of Minsk for a final rally, BPF Chairman Alyaksey Yanukevich told BelaPAN.

The application for permission to stage the demonstration is expected to be signed by members of the Belarusian Popular Front, the United Civic Party, Belarusian Christian Democracy, and the Movement for Freedom.

"We have already asked the administration of the Palace of Culture of Minsk Tractor Works to let us hold a concert there on March 24," Mr. Yanukevich said. "On March 22, an exhibition of artworks by members of Pahonya will begin in the BPF office."

All Dzen Voli events will focus on the need to protect Belarus' independence and release the political prisoners, he said.

The organizing committee will appeal to political leaders and other prominent figures as well as common people to join celebrations of the BNR anniversary, Mr. Yanukevich said.

An estimated 3,000 to 4,000 people took part in a "Dzen Voli" demonstration on March 25, 2012. No arrests were reported during the event, which had been sanctioned by the Minsk City Executive Committee.

The short-lived Belarusian National Republic came into existence shortly before the end of the First World War, when Bolshevik forces left Minsk and the city was occupied by German troops. Although the German authorities remained reticent, if not actually hostile toward the BNR provisional government, they did not interfere much with its political functioning. On March 25, 1918, the provisional government (Rada) together with representatives of the Vilna (Vilnius) Council proclaimed the independence of the BNR. A national flag with white, red and white horizontal stripes was adopted, together with a state seal depicting "Pahonya" (Pursuit), the old emblem of the Grand Duchy of Litva.

Armenia, Czechoslovakia, Georgia, Germany, Austria, Poland, Ukraine, Turkey, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland recognized the BNR de jure.

To counteract the effect of the proclamation of the BNR, the Russian Bolsheviks set up a Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic in Smolensk on January 1, 1919. After the Red Army re-entered Minsk, a Communist government replaced the Rada there on January 5. The Rada was forced to go into emigration.